Study finds particles, molecules prefer not to mix

In the world of small things, shape, order and orientation are surprisingly important, according to findings from a new study by chemists at Washington University in St. Louis. Lev Gelb, WUSTL associate professor of chemistry, his graduate student Brian Barnes, and postdoctoral researcher Daniel Siderius, used computer simulations to study a very simple model of molecules on surfaces, which looks a lot like the computer game “Tetris.” They have found that the shapes in this model (and in the game) do a number of surprising things.

Researchers hone technique to KO pediatric brain tumors

WooleyAn interdisciplinary team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Karen L. Wooley, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, is a step closer to delivering cancer-killing drugs to pediatric brain tumors, similar to the tumor that Senator Ted Kennedy is suffering from. Such tumors are often difficult to completely remove surgically; frequently, cancerous cells remain following surgery and the tumor returns. Chemotherapy, while effective at treating tumors, often harms healthy cells as well, leading to severe side effects especially in young children that are still developing their brain functions. In an effort to solve this problem, the Wooley lab has developed polymeric nanoparticles that can entrap doxorubicin, a drug commonly used in chemotherapy, and slowly release the drug over an extended time period.

Technique controls nanoparticle size, creates large numbers

Pratim Biswas has a method that controls the size of the nanoparticles he makes, opening up possibilities for new nanotechnology applications and different techniques.In a world that constantly strives for bigger and bigger things, WUSTL’s Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, is working to make things smaller and smaller. Biswas conducts research on nanoparticles, which are the building blocks for nanotechnology. For the first time, Biswas has shown that he can independently control the size of the nanoparticles that he makes, keeping their other properties the same. He’s also shown with his technique that the nanoparticles can be made in large quantities in scalable systems, opening up the possibility for more applications and different techniques.

Nanoparticles offer new hope for cancer detection, treatment

Magnified nanoparticlesSpecially designed nanoparticles can reveal tiny cancerous tumors that are invisible to ordinary means of detection, according to a study by researchers at the School of Medicine. Researchers demonstrated that very small human melanoma tumors growing in mice — indiscernible from the surrounding tissue by direct MRI scan — could be “lit up” and easily located. Because the nanoparticles can be engineered to carry a variety of substances, they also may be able to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to malignant tumors.

Nanoparticles offer new hope for detection and treatment

Magnified nanoparticlesSpecially designed nanoparticles can reveal tiny cancerous tumors that are invisible to ordinary means of detection, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers demonstrated that very small human melanoma tumors growing in mice — indiscernible from the surrounding tissue by direct MRI scan — could be “lit up” and easily located. Because the nanoparticles can be engineered to carry a variety of substances, they also may be able to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to malignant tumors.